Betfred Classic Chase: 3.35 Warwick
Carruthers 8/1 1 point win
Hawkes Point 14/1 1 point win
Trends: Previous 12 renewals
- 8/12 Finished top 3 LTO; further 3 either fell or were pulled up
- 1/12 Carried more than 11-7 to victory, 22 horses have tried, 1 success
- Age: Nothing much to go on, winners at all ages from 7-12. 7/8yo – 5/12 from 49 runners. 7 other winners 9+ came from 108 runners.
- 9/12 Had 2 or 3 runs this season only.
Finishing Position and Seasonal run trends would leave a shortlist of: Shotgun Paddy, Theatrical Star, Mart Lane, Carruthers, Ballyoliver, Hawkes Point, Cadeau George, Sixty Something and Global Power
As always in these races you have a dilemma.
Do you go with horses that have proved they stay or a horse that may improve for a step up in trip. In the past week I have backed 2 horses to success in distance races. Itoldyou won for me at Plumpton in the Sussex National at 14/1 (those that follow me on twitter were on @Josh_HW) and Scotswell in the North Yorkshire equivalent at 8/1 (posted on my Racingtoprofit.co.uk blog in ‘Pace Wins Race’ write up) Both had different profiles. Itoldyou was still lightly raced over fences (but still with enough experience if that makes sense) and had been getting outpaced/staying on over 3m2f. I thought the step up in trip would suit and at 14/1 I was happy to take the chance. Scotswell on the other hand was a proven stayer. In every race like this you have that dilemma.
Having looked through this race I am going with two proven stayers with a touch of class. If they run their race they should be bang there fighting out the finish. None of the unproven stayers look worthy of backing in my opinion…
Theatrical Star: step up could help, but unproven in such a competitive race and jumping sometimes suspect; Global Power: ties in with him on their Fontwell run, and I don’t think they are good enough to win this, on what they have shown to date. They are both open to improvement however; Mart Lane: Needs to show much more, too inconsistent at moment; Ballyoliver: quite exposed, looks a C3 animal at best to me. Given connections a bold show wouldnt be a total surprise however; Cadeau George is a 6yo and this will be tough on only his 4th chase start. Not enough experience for me; Sixty Something: Well he is still unexposed over fences,this being only his 10th start, and is in form at least. That race fell apart and he too is a suspect jumper at times. I want to see more proven chase form in such a large field. He also needs to step up on what he has done to date but the trip could help; Shotgun Paddy: Last year’s winner is interesting but has to carry top weight here and hasn’t shown much in recent starts. You could make excuses for those runs and I would expect him to run well. However a couple of doubts for me to think 7/1 is a bit skinny. He is in the right age group and if the weight doesn’t burden him he must go close. As yet, since 2000, no horse has won this twice. I have looked through the other, non-trends qualifiers and I am happy to discount them. Benbane Head could run a big race but he will need to improve for the step up and his best form has been on a sounder surface. He won’t get it all his own way up front either. Return Spring is really unexposed for such a tough chase such as this, and is 5/1. That is no price for a horse with so much to prove. He could win but I won’t kick myself that I wasn’t on.
That brings me onto the selections.
I backed him last time in the Welsh National where he was very disappointing. Race conditions are fine and his mark has dropped a bit. A repeat of his Welsh National run in 2014 will see him go very close here. Clearly he is a bit of a character and all hopes are pinned on the blinkers working their magic. Normally I am weary of first time blinkers as you never know what effect they could have. But we are getting 14/1 and the trainer does use them to great effect. Benvolio came a gallant second in the Welsh National for Nicholls and he was sporting first-time headgear having looked inconsistent previously. If they have the same affect on his stable mate we will get a very good run for our money. When on song he races handily, jumps well and he stays. It should be evident quite quickly if he is going to run a big race.
This 12yo came second in this race last year of a mark off 150, carrying 11-7. He races here, 1 year later, off 14lbs lower, has less weight on his back, and must surely go well. He handles all race conditions and ran well for a long way at Cheltenham last time. That demonstrated that he retains all of his enthusiasm and with veterans having won this race before I thought he was a solid bet. 8/1 isn’t massive in a race like this but I think they are fair. I would like to think this has been the season’s target. I think he stays this trip ok based on his run in the race last year and hopefully the lower rating, and weight on his back, will see him go one step closer.
So that’s it. The writing could be on the wall for Hawkes Point fairly early on but if the blinkers do work I think we will be very excited come the last fence. Nicholls has won this race a few times before and this horse, when right, will win a race like this. Let’s hope it is tomorrow. I can see no reason why Carruthers will not put up another bold show and we should get a decent run for our money. Let’s hope we get more of a race than we did for my Welsh National bets!